Any pregnant woman out there will tell you for a fact that carrying a pregnancy to full term is a blessing and God-given. This is because so many things can happen before the due date. Even so, great care is taken to protect the unborn child from lurking danger, which actually tends to be virtually everywhere. There is no denying that even the safest of homes can harbor so many risk factors to a pregnant woman, so staying at home is not an option.

Among the leading causes of death and injuries to either the mother or the unborn child are car crashes. Even with healthcare providers discussing the importance of refraining from driving while pregnant (especially near the due date)  with patients every now and then, a lot needs to be done to help in safeguarding the mother and the unborn baby. Let’s take a look at some of the common traumatic injuries caused to a pregnant woman from a car crash.

1. Hypoxia

As we may be aware, babies rely on the mother’s oxygenated blood for survival and to remain healthy. In the case of an accident, Hypoxia may happen in one of two ways. In the first case, the mother may lose a lot of blood as a result of the accident, leaving her unable to supply her fetus with the required amount of blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Secondly, due to the shock or trauma, the mother’s body may automatically shut down all the processes towards the fetus and other non-vital organs, and instead, concentrate them on the mother’s body instead.

2. Birth Injuries

There are chances that a mother could give birth right after an accident. In this case, she or the baby could also sustain injuries before the undue birth. Justin Kimball from explains that among the most common birth injuries are cerebral palsy, caused by injury or trauma to the brain at birth. The deprivation of oxygen and vital nutrients to the baby’s brain may also cause some developmental problems including shaken baby syndrome.

3. Maternal Trauma/Shock

The severity of an accident is usually determined by the extent of the damage caused. To a pregnant woman, even a minor fender bumper can cause serious traumatic experience and shock. This results in the mother’s heart being unable to pump enough blood to the fetus. This may result in premature birth or miscarriage. It’s been found that trauma is the leading cause of nonobstetric fatalities in pregnant women. Car accidents have also played a major role in contributing to maternal shock and trauma. The other causing factors for maternal trauma are falls and domestic violence.

4. Rapture of the Uterine

Although very rare during pregnancy, the uterine walls may rapture in the event of a car crash. In most cases, rupture of the uterine walls is as a result of an impact from the steering wheel or from the seatbelt loading. Uterine rupture may present itself in various symptoms even though most of them are nonspecific. They include;

  • Bulging on the pubic bone
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal soreness
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

It’s imperative to consult with your healthcare provider if you were previously involved in a car crash. Typically, it may take you a day or two to notice some of the above symptoms. But if you are able, ensure that the responding healthcare providers on the scene of the accident know you are pregnant. The best thing to do is to have you and your unborn checked at a health facility after the accident, even if you don’t feel or suspect to have been hurt.

5. Abruption of the Placenta

Placental abruption may be defined as the premature separation of the placenta from the uterus before birth. It’s a serious medical condition that is a result of a car crash and may or may not pose life-threatening risks to the mother but the rate of fetal death is relatively high. Some symptoms of placental abruption include;

  • Severe abdominal pains
  • Back pains
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal firmness

An impact on the mother’s abdomen can potentially cause the placenta to detach itself since it doesn’t require a lot of force for this to happen. Abruption to the placenta could also lead to premature birth and ultimately, a miscarriage.

6. Maternal Death

This may not qualify as an injury as such, but goes without saying, that if the mother sustains serious injuries after a car crash, death is also a possibility. The impact of a car crash shouldn’t be lightly taken. While a car crash can cause serious injuries to both the mother and the unborn child, the resulting effects may cause lasting scars both physically and emotionally. Death may either arise after the impact or as a consequence of the sustained injuries. This could mean that at the scene of an accident, victims who are pregnant women ought to be given priority as far as first aid is concerned. You could actually be saving two lives in one by giving a helping hand to such a victim.

Preventive Measures

It’s not a guarantee that we can completely mitigate or alternatively prevent car accidents from happening, and staying at home is actually not a viable option, neither is it realistic. However, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and put all the odds in your favor when pregnant. The first thing to do may be investing in ergonomic car seats, seat belts designed for pregnant women, and cushions for extra comfort and safety. How a pregnant woman seats in a car may also play a role in helping prevent some injuries.

All in all, we need to be thankful for modern car technology. One thing to note about modern cars is that they’ve been designed to cater for the needs of everyone in the family. In addition to this, the modern car has features that help to prevent injuries as well as increase survivability. But as a mother to be, drive safely and keep your distance from trucks.

Law enforcement matters, too. For too long, police officer training has been sliding, and there are now fewer officers on the streets than ever before. Officers have the capacity to prevent accidents, rather than attending accidents after the event. Speed cameras are often not set up at pinch points where most accidents occur. These two factors alone can have an enormously positive impact on reducing accident numbers.